Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Destiney Philoxy has career night in final game at Mullins Center

Philoxy receives standing ovation on senior night as her remarkable career at UMass ends
Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

With Saturday’s 84-61 win over George Washington in the regular season finale, it officially marked the last time Destiney Philoxy and Sam Breen suited up at Mullins Center for the Massachusetts women’s basketball team.

Philoxy’s sendoff was nothing short of remarkable.

In her final home game, the five-foot-seven-inch graduate student from Queens, New York was on fire from downtown. Philoxy started off 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and notched 12 of her 15 total points in the first quarter. She also finished with five rebounds, four assists and one steal.

With just under two minutes remaining in the first frame, Breen dished out to Philoxy who put up a 3-point attempt and got fouled. Philoxy hit the deck after the contact, but still managed to swish the shot and bring a record-breaking 3,049 fans to its feet.

For fans who are familiar with Philoxy’s game, the highlight reel play was just a normal day at the office for a player whose career accolades could fill a book – and have filled a trophy case.

In addition to being crowned an Atlantic 10 Tournament Champion last season, Philoxy became No. 1 in all-time career games played for the UMass women’s basketball program and has suited up in the maroon and white for an astounding 143 games. Today, Philoxy earned another No. 1 title when she clocked the most minutes in Minutewomen (24-5, 14-2 A-10) history with 4,335 minutes.

Despite all the achievements Philoxy has claimed, she received perhaps the greatest gift on Saturday when she was embraced by her sister, Selena Philoxy, who flew in from overseas to surprise her baby sister before the sendoff.

“It meant a lot to me honestly,” Philoxy said. “I was on the phone with [my sister] the night before, and I told my teammates [Selena] couldn’t make it because she just came from a flight in Germany because she’s overseas … She made me believe she wasn’t coming.”

“Then I heard cheering again, but [Breen’s] not walking. So, I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’, and I look and I see someone with dreads. I’m like, ‘I only know one person with dreads that look like mine.’ I was like, ‘Wow, my sister’s actually here.’ I actually teared up a little bit because we never really shared a basketball moment before. For her to come back and support me shows how much she really loves me,” Philoxy said. “Sometimes you need a little love and I feel like I needed that today.”

Philoxy has been the pinnacle of unselfishness in her basketball career. She leads the UMass women’s basketball program in all-time assists when she reached 579 assists against Missouri in December of 2022. Since she stepped foot in the Commonwealth, Philoxy has been a catalyst for the Minutewomen, continuously displaying her ability to get her teammates involved.

Fans have witnessed Philoxy revolutionize women’s basketball at UMass. Alongside Breen and head coach Tory Verdi, Philoxy transformed a team that nobody believed in into a championship winning program.

“[Philoxy] is special,” Verdi said. “Growing up, she hasn’t had the easiest life, but the life that she has made for herself is something special. The one thing I was so attracted to in the recruiting process was her competitive spirit. Not only that, just her zest and zeal for life, it’s infectious. You can see it, and as I watched her throughout her time at UMass just grow up into a special person.”

Before the opening tipoff, Philoxy and Breen were honored with a pregame celebration. Two cornerstones for the program, the pair received frames with their jerseys and photos inside, and shared a moment with Verdi, their families and their teammates.

“Walking her out for senior night was special for me too,” Verdi said. “Because it’s not just about the wins, it’s about the relationships. For her to ask me, I look at that and it’s more than a win. She’s just a special person, an amazing player and I see her doing amazing things in the future.”

As the regular season concludes, Philoxy and the Minutewomen set their sights on the postseason. UMass holds the No. 1 seed as it looks to repeat at the A-10 tournament in Wilmington, Delaware starting on March 1.

Michael Araujo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @araujo_michael_.

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